Claims Umbilical Cord Preservation A Waste Of Money
Posted Jan 22 2009 3:57pm
Umbilical cord blood preservation makes the news yet again. The Brisbane Courier Mail has published an article that claims that many Australians are wasting their money through umbilical cord preservation using private companies. They cite the lack of use of preserved umbilical cord blood as their rationale.
I am not in a position to dispute their facts. Umbilical cord preservation has been available privately for since 2002. The fact that no request has been made to 'withdraw' the preserved blood for medical use does not necessarily mean that Australians have 'wasted' their money. I am sure the parents of these children are happy in the knowledge they healthy and have not needed to preserved umbilical cord blood.
What does concern me is the cost associated with the collection and preservation of umbilical cord blood and the lack of cooperation by some public hospitals. In Australia, parents are charged between $3000 and $5700. This is a lot of money when you consider that other countries, such as the US, only charge around $1000-$1500 for the same service.
As for the public hospitals not being willing to participate in the collection process, it seems to be denial of a parents rights. This is even more disturbing when the hospital is quite happy to collect the umbilical cord blood if the parent is willing to donate it the public bank.
I must admit I do have doubts about the private umbilical cord blood preservation issue, however I do believe parents have a right to decide for themselves. It is their child and the umbilical cord blood does belong to that child. If they wish to have it stored for future use, who are we to deny them that right?
Umbilical cord blood does seem to offer hope to sufferers of some conditions. More research is required and more trials undertaken. Since the collection, if done correctly, harms no one, I don't see the problem.
The newspapers headline really sensationalizes the issue:
AUSTRALIAN parents have paid millions of dollars to store their children's cord blood - but not one sample has been used for life-saving treatment.
I say so what! If parents want to pay for an umbilical cord preservation service, that is their right!